The threat of terrorism is always present with us, especially after the historic attacks on September 11, 2001, in the United States that showed the world that terrorists can strike when least expected. Extremist groups who want for religious or political reasons have mainly used the calculated use of violence to cause widespread destruction in various parts of the world. Therefore, to curb this threat, the United States and its allies have initiated an international military campaign referred to as the War on Terrorism. However, it is important to note that this war can be ‘won’ only if workable strategies are adopted.
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To obliterate acts of terrorism from the face of this planet, the U.S. and its allies must start to think clearly on how victory on the war would look like. Success will only come when the U.S. and its allies have triumphed in discrediting the philosophy of the terror organizations and weakening all the sources that offer assistance to their illicit activities. These accomplishments, in sequence, will oblige the parties involved to acknowledge that the threat of terrorism cannot be utterly eliminated and that acting as though it can in a limited period will only make the problem to be worse.
Although the U.S. and its allies won the Cold War, this is not a guarantee that they will automatically win the war on terror, especially if they do not focus on ways of fighting it differently. As much as it is true that the use of military force will bring success in some cases, ultimate success will only be realized through the implementation of workable strategies.
Some of these are reestablishing the moral authority and ideological appeal of the U.S. and its allies, enacting focused and better diplomatic objectives, and strengthening cooperation in the sharing of sensitive information among the parties involved in the war. The current approach that the U.S. is using has led to the formation of more terrorist groups than it has eradicated. Therefore, to avoid the continuation of this trend, the parties involved should think of radically changing their course.
The 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, gave a victory speech when the nation and its key allies won the Cold War. The 44th President, Barrack Obama, has also given a promising speech that the war in Afghanistan is bearing fruits. Is it possible for a future U.S. President to deliver such a speech that the War on Terror has been won? Yes, it is possible. However, to this end, the U.S. must come out clear on the concept of what “winning” the war means.
The conventional meaning of gaining “victory” in the war on terror is overpowering the forces of an enemy and compelling them to yield to some political terms. Is this still the meaning of “winning” the war on terror? If this is the notion, then this war can never end. As pointed out earlier, gaining victory in the war on terror requires radical changing of course in which the root causes of terrorism are investigated and adequately dealt with. Winning this war will bring big relief to people around the world who have constantly lived in fear of terrorist incidents. So, until we hear the “victory” speech from a future U.S. president, let us wait and hope that winning the war on terror is possible.